a Greyhound looking at something in the distance


Greyhounds have an identity problem! When you think about them, your first thought is probably one of dogs racing around a track. While the breed is considered to be the fastest, most Greyhounds are actually calm and good-natured and they love to sleep. 

Daily walks and backyard romps will be appreciated but, contrary to popular belief, they do not require a considerable amount of exercise.

At first, Greyhounds will want to spend every waking minute with you. With training, they will become accustomed to staying alone and can be comfortable in the company of family or on their own. This breed is good with children, but skittish around strangers, so socializing them will be important. 

Due to their single coat and lack of body fat, they do not tolerate extremes in temperature. Because they have little body fat, Greyhounds prefer to sleep on a padded surface as opposed to a hard floor.

Greyhound Information

  • Average Height: 25 to 30 inches
  • Average Length: 24 to 33 inches  
  • Average Weight: 50 to 85 pounds
  • Coat Type: Short length
  • Coat Appearance: Smooth-coat that is easy to care for.
  • Coat Colors: Fawn, black, red, gray, or white.
  • Grooming Needs: Medium
  • Shedding: Medium 
  • Brushing Requirements: They have to be brushed two times a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: Yes, they are sensitive and can react if touched unexpectedly.
  • Excessive Barking: No
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
  • Good Pet: Though they are less active, they are friendly and calm, so yes!
  • Safe with Children: They are patient with children, so yes!
  • Good with Other Dogs: Moderate, as they have a tendency to see other smaller animals or pets as prey.
  • Good with Other Pets: No
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: They are not very active, so yes.
  • Suitable for First-Time Dog Owners: No
  • Training: Though they are intelligent they can be stubborn at times which can make it slightly difficult to train them in the beginning.
  • Exercise Needs: Daily 
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: Anesthesia sensitivity, Hypothyroidism, Osteosarcoma, and Gastric torsion.
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 10 to 15 years

Physical Appearance of Greyhounds

They have a muscular body with a long neck and head. Their chest is deep and the waist is narrow. The dog has a slightly arched loin with long and strong legs. All these features of their body aids in giving a streamlined look which actually helps the dog to sprint through the air while racing or hunting.

Greyhounds have a long and slightly narrow snout with a dark-colored small nose. The eyes are dark and bright. Their ears are generally folded flat against the neck but sometimes stand erect when the dog is attentive or excited. They have a long tail that is tapering and slightly bent upward.

The dog has a short length coat that is smooth and requires moderate grooming. It comes in a variety of colors like fawn, black, red, gray, or white. Some Greyhounds can also have a brindle patterned coat with a combination of white and other colors.

Temperament of Greyhounds

Greyhounds are known to have a kind and quiet temperament. They are receptive to children and will mostly be calm and happy in a family environment. The dog is friendly and is affectionate towards their family members. But it can act timid when meeting strangers. Also, greyhounds are not very active and can sleep for hours during the day. They can sleep for as long as 18 hours a day!

a Greyhound standing in a field
a Greyhound looking at something in the distance

Though they are friendly with other dogs or pets of similar sizes, they can sometimes be aggressive towards some other pets, especially smaller ones like rodents and cats. They look at them as prey so it would not be recommended to have Greyhounds as pets for families that have smaller pets. 

Training a Greyhound

Training a Greyhound can be a little difficult as they are stubborn and independent. This will also depend upon whether you have adopted a puppy or a retired racing Greyhound. Training puppies is easier than training a retired dog. As Greyhounds are also sensitive you cannot be rough on them. You have to be consistent and patient while training them. The best way is to use rewards and praise while training them.

Kennel training would be easy for retired dogs as they are already used to staying in a kennel. For puppies, you will have to teach them how to get inside and stay in the kennel.  Like all dogs, they will eventually get used to a kennel and likely view it as a safe space.

You might find it difficult to get around with teaching them the ‘sit’ command. This is because sitting is somewhat uncomfortable for them. Due to their slim body, they will try to balance on their tail.  Now that you know this isn’t very comfortable for them, hopefully you will not ask them to do this often.

The dog is naturally shy and needs to be given early socialization training by exposing the dog to different pets, strangers, and sounds. This will help build confidence to interact easily with them. You need to be careful while making them meet smaller pets because of their prey like instincts. 

Their Compatibility with Children

Greyhounds are calm and tolerant while dealing with children. They do not become aggressive or bark when kids are around. Instead, they can develop a very strong bond with children. They like the attention they get while playing.  They can be quite tolerant and forgiving when the children are cuddling or holding them. 

Teach your children not to play too rough with them. Greyhounds are sensitive and have a muscular body, they can become hurt if people roughhouse with them. For the first several interactions between children and Greyhounds you should be around when they are playing to make sure they play together OK. 

Best Climate for Greyhounds

A moderate climate is best for Greyhounds. The ideal temperature for them is between 

65 to 75 degrees as their body cannot tolerate extreme temperatures. The dog has a single coat and does not have adequate body fat which prevents them from handling hot temperatures well. If it becomes too hot outside you should bring your Greyhound inside and keep them in a climate controlled room.

As for the cold, they cannot stay outside in freezing temperatures due to their thin coat. Keeping them outside in freezing temperatures for more than 15 minutes can lead to frostbite. In severe cases, it can also lead to death. 

a Greyhound looking at something in the distance

If you want to take them outside in the cold for more than just a few minutes they will need a coat to stay warm.  If you stay in an area that experiences extreme temperatures it would be advised to keep them inside your home.

The Attention a Greyhound Needs

Greyhounds need a lot of attention. Some can also be clingy and follow you around the house. Greyhounds are less active and low energy breeds but they do require daily physical activity to stay fit.  

You need to spend time each day with them to exercise them for at least 15 to 30 minutes or take them out for walks. Playing around in the backyard and going for long walks is what they enjoy the most.  Always keep them on a leash while taking them out for walks. As Greyhounds have prey-like instincts keeping them on a leash will prevent them from running after any other animal.

a Greyhound playing in a field of flowers

Whether you get a puppy or a retired racing Greyhound you should not leave them alone for the initial few weeks. In the beginning, they will look for your attention all the time but after a few days, they will learn to stay alone for long hours. 

As they spend most of their time sleeping, they won’t have a problem being left alone while the family is out at work or school. However in some Greyhounds it could lead to separation anxiety in the dog. A visible sign for this would be a lack of excitement towards the family members when the dog meets them after being alone for a few hours. 

Health Issues

Overall, the Greyhounds are a healthy breed of dogs. Unlike other breeds, there are no hereditary diseases that can be found in Greyhounds on a large scale. 

Hypothyroidism is a commonly occurring disease in the dog. It is caused by the low secretion of hormones from the thyroid gland. Visible signs of your dog having the disease include obesity, lethargy, excessive shedding, or even infertility. If you see any of these signs, get them checked with a vet. Simple thyroid medication will work for most dogs and it won’t have a major impact on the life of the dog.

Osteosarcoma is another common health condition in Greyhound that is found in many large dog breeds as well. It is aggressive bone cancer, the most evident sign of which is lameness. Treatments include chemotherapy and amputation of limbs. Though the dog can adjust after either treatment methods the lifespan of the dog will usually not be more than two years after the treatment. 

Bloat or Gastric Torsion is also a health condition that this breed can develop. It simply happens when there is an excessive influx of air in the stomach that can cause the stomach to twist. If not treated immediately, it can also lead to death. In addition to these diseases, Greyhounds also have Anesthesia Sensitivity. Even a small dose of Anesthesia can kill them. For this, you should only take your dog to a vet who is experienced and is aware of the sensitivity of their breed towards the medicine.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Greyhounds’ short coat has minimum grooming needs. Brushing them twice in a week would be enough to take care of the moderate shedding. Use a rubber brush or a soft bristle brush to gently remove any loose fur. Give them a bath once a month to keep them clean. Use only a dry dog shampoo as it will help to keep their coat clean and smooth.

Check their ears once a week for the build-up of wax or dirt. Clean them if required to reduce the chances of infection. You should trim their nails every other week. This will prevent the dog from scratching your floor or hurting itself or any other family member while running around and playing with them. 

Also, check their eyes for redness or soreness. Check their coat for rashes, a bad odor, or redness while brushing them. If you see any signs of infection consult your vet for treatment.

a Greyhound running at full speed through grass
a pile of multi colored dog food

Feeding A Greyhound

Adult male Greyhounds require 2.5 to 4 cups and adult females require 1.5 to 3 cups of dog food every day. This should be divided into two meals during the day. Depending upon the activity your dog does during the day, the meal size may vary a little. 

As Greyhounds are not very active and spend most of the time sleeping during the day, overfeeding them can lead to obesity. If you want, you can serve table scraps occasionally to the dog. But do not make this a habit as the Greyhound will quickly develop a taste for the table scraps and may stop liking the dog food you give him. 

Related Questions:

Are Greyhounds the fastest dog breed?

Yes, they are the fastest dog breed in the world. Though they seem to be calm at home Greyhounds can sprint as fast as 45 miles per hour when on the field. This is possible because of the athletic build of the body as they have strong, long legs and a lean body.

Do Greyhounds sleep with their eyes open?

Yes, sometimes Greyhounds can sleep with their eyes open. You should check your dog when it is lying down at night or during the day with their eyes open as it could look like it is awake but might be actually sleeping. To ensure that you do not startle them when they are sleeping, train your children and others to call out their name before touching them. 

How wide is the vision of a Greyhound?

Greyhounds have a field of vision of 270 degrees. This allows them to see the objects behind them without the need to turn their head. Most other dog breeds have a field of vision of 180 degrees. However, an interesting thing to note is that despite their wide vision they have stereoscopic vision. This means they can better see moving objects rather than stationary objects.

Do Greyhounds require some type of bedding when they sleep?

While it is not required for them, it will greatly add to their comfort while sleeping.  Because this breed has almost no body fat, it can be uncomfortable for them to lay on hard surfaces to sleep.  Something soft to lay on would be much better for them especially when they’re older.

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